South Africa’s largest Cryptocurrency exchange platform, Luno, has announced plans to shut down its operations in the Singapore market by June 20, 2023. The decision comes as part of a regular review of the firm’s global strategy and presence.
The exchange platform, which is owned by Digital Currency Group and obtained a license to operate in Singapore in April 2022, cited in their published statement that the nation’s strict stance on cryptocurrency as the reason for its withdrawal. Luno urged its users to withdraw their assets from their wallets by June 19, warning of an inactive account fee for unclaimed funds. Luno also informed the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) that it no longer requires a permit.
The statement also outlines that the MAS has been cautioning businesses and consumers about virtual currency transactions since June 2013, highlighting the significant risks associated with such transactions. The regulatory body has also advised consumers to exercise due diligence when investing in ICOs and investment schemes involving digital tokens. In January 2022, the MAS introduced measures to restrict the marketing and advertising of cryptocurrency services in public areas and disallow cryptocurrency trading being portrayed in a manner that trivializes its risks.
Luno, which has significant interests in the United Kingdom and South Africa, is one of many companies that have let off employees in recent months as the crypto sector has shrunk. In-principle permits have been granted to over a dozen organizations, including Coinbase Global and Blockchain.com, to provide digital payment token services in Singapore.
Despite withdrawing from the Singapore market, Luno still believes that the nation has the potential to use cryptocurrency to build a fair and robust financial system. The company has expressed its gratitude to its Singaporean users, stating that it has been privileged to support thousands of investors in Singapore on their crypto journey since 2016.
Luno’s announcement of its exit from the Singapore market highlights the challenges that cryptocurrency firms face in navigating the regulatory landscape. The move comes amid a broader push by governments worldwide to tighten oversight of the crypto sector, driven in part by concerns about money laundering and other illicit activities. However, the crypto industry remains optimistic about the potential of digital assets to transform the financial system, and Luno’s exit from Singapore does not diminish this potential.